Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Panzanella, a recipe


It's the best feeling to step outside, head straight to the garden, pick a few tomatoes and some basil tips, dig up a small red onion and start to work on a summer panzanella.

Panzanella--slightly adapted from

tomatoes-1.5 pounds, chopped into small pieces (I used a mix of Paul Robeson, Japanese Black Trifle, Orange Short Vine, and Orange Banana but you can use up cherry tomatoes or whatever you have that is ripe and ready.)
3/4 cup of chopped basil (I used Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil and Genovese)
1-2 garlic cloves ( I used this year's green garlic)
day old bread (in this case, 3/4 of a loaf of golden flax bread)
fresh mozzarella (or feta)--optional
white balsamic vinegar (I like the Trader Joe's brand)
a good quality olive oil

For this panzanella, you'll want to use your favorite loaf of bread. It needs to be a day or two old to soak up the dressing so prepare in advance if you are planning to bake your own. I used 3/4 of a loaf of golden flax seed bread that I picked up at our local farmer's market. Chop the bread into cubes and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with 2 TB of olive oil and add some freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Stir and bake for 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

While your croutons are baking, chop your tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Chop your fresh mozzarella into cubes. Chop your basil. Thinly slice a red onion. Set these aside.

To make the dressing, mince a garlic clove (or two) and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to make a paste. A mortar and pestle works great here. Next, add 1/3 cup of olive oil and 3 TB of white balsamic vinegar. Whisk together.

When croutons are ready, toss them into the dressing and give them a stir. Add tomatoes, cheese, onion slices, and basil. Season to taste. For best flavor, let the flavors meld for 30 minutes or a little less if you're really hungry. :)

I wish I had a photograph of this beautiful summer salad in our handmade pottery bowl but I made it after nightfall and we ate most of it. Hope you understand.



  1. That sounds so good Shari. I've never made anything like it before!
    We're growing Japanese Black Trifles also, and I think they are so pretty. We also have Black Brandywines, which are also lovely.

  2. This sounds wonderful. I love to cook, and I've heard of Panzanella but have never tried it before. Can't go wrong with those ingredients. I just saw the white balsamic at Trader Joe's but passed on it this time. Is it a lot different other than color from the dark kinds?

  3. I made this last night! Thank you for the recipe. I read a few others and decided to add cucumber and bell pepper to mine so I could use up what I had. It was delicious!

  4. oh, yum! we are growing the japanese black trifele too, (among 10 varieties altogether) but i doubt we will see many ripen as our weather has been wickedly poor for toms even in our hoophouse this year. simply not enough heat units and too wet. sigh. but the farmer's market will have lots, and even for lots of $$$ i shall be in tomatoes for these sorts of recipe delights and hoping to put some by too. :)